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Texas Senate

Coordinates: 30°16′28″N 97°44′24″W / 30.274537°N 97.739906°W / 30.274537; -97.739906
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Texas Senate
88th Texas Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
New session started
January 10, 2023
Dan Patrick (R)
since January 20, 2015
Charles Schwertner (R)
since May 29, 2023
Majority Leader
Angela Paxton (R)
since September 16, 2023
Minority Leader
Carol Alvarado (D)
since January 8, 2020
Political groups
  •   Republican (19)


Length of term
4 years (with one 2-year term each decade)
AuthorityArticle 3, Texas Constitution
Salary$7,200/year + per diem
Last election
November 8, 2022
(31 seats)
Next election
November 5, 2024
(15 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative control
Meeting place
State Senate Chamber
Texas State Capitol
Austin, Texas
Texas State Senate

The Texas Senate is the upper house of the Texas Legislature, with the Texas House of Representatives being the lower house. Together, they compose the state legislature of the state of Texas.

There are 31 members of the Senate, representing single-member districts across the U.S. state of Texas, with populations of approximately 940,000 per constituency, based on the 2020 U.S. Census. Elections are held in even-numbered years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

There are no term limits. Terms are four years in length, with one two-year term each decade. Senators are divided into two groups based in part on the intervening Census:

  • In elections in years ending in 2 (the election after the Census), all 31 seats are up for election.
  • Once the Senate meets in session after said election, the Senators will participate in a drawing to determine their election cycle:
    • One-half will have a 2-4-4 cycle, whereupon the seat would stand for election after two years (the year ending in 4) for a four-year term, followed by another four-year term (elected in the year ending in 8).
    • The other half will have a 4-4-2 cycle, whereupon the seat would stand for election after four years (the year ending in 6) for another four-year term, followed by a two-year term (elected in the year ending in 0).

As such, every two years, about half of the Texas Senate is on the ballot.

The Senate meets at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The Republicans currently control the chamber, which is made up of 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats.



The Lieutenant Governor of Texas serves as the President of the Senate. Unlike most lieutenant governors who are constitutionally designated as presiding officers of the upper house, the Lieutenant Governor regularly presides over the chamber rather than delegate this role to the President Pro Tempore. The Lieutenant Governor's duties include appointing chairs of committees, committee members, assigning and referring bills to specific committees, recognizing members during debate, and making procedural rulings. The Lieutenant Governor may also cast a vote should a Senate floor vote end in a tie. If the Senate votes to dissolve itself into the Committee of the Whole, in which all members are part of the Committee, the President Pro-Tempore presides over the proceedings, with the Lieutenant Governor acting as a regular voting member. Due to the various powers of committee selection and bill assignment, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas is considered one of the most powerful lieutenant governorships in the United States.

Unlike other state legislatures, the Texas Senate does not include majority or minority leaders. Instead, the President Pro Tempore is considered the second most powerful position, and can be reserved to any political party in the chamber regardless if the party is a majority or not. Presidents Pro Tempore are usually the most senior members of the Senate. The President Pro Tempore presides when the Lieutenant Governor is not present or when the legislature is not in regular session.


Position Name Party Residence District
Lieutenant Governor/President of the Senate Dan Patrick Republican Houston Elected Statewide
President Pro Tempore Charles Schwertner Republican Georgetown 5





There have been at least three cases of quorum-busting in Texas Senate history. The first case was in 1870, with the Rump Senate, followed by the 1979 Killer Bees[1] and finally the "Texas Eleven" in August 2003 during the controversial mid-decade redistricting plan at the time.[2]

Committee structure


The following represents the Senate committee structure for the 88th Legislature (numbers in parentheses are the number of committee members, as appointed by the President of the Texas Senate).[3]

  • Administration (7)
  • Border Security (5)
  • Business and Commerce (11)
  • Criminal Justice (7)
  • Education (13)
    • Under this Committee, a Subcommittee on Higher Education (5)
  • Finance (17)
  • Health & Human Services (9)
  • Jurisprudence (5)
  • Local Government (9)
  • Natural Resources and Economic Development (9)
  • Nominations (9)
  • State Affairs (11)
  • Transportation (9)
  • Veteran Affairs (7)
  • Water, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (9)

In addition to these committees, there are also six joint committees composed of members of both the State Senate and House:

Current composition

12 19
Democratic Republican
Affiliation Party
(shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Vacant
2011–12 19 12 31 0
2013–14 19 12 31 0
2015-16 20 11 31 0
2017–18 20 11 31 0
2019–20 19 11 31 0
2021–22 18 13 31 0
2023–24 19 12 31 0
Latest voting share 61.3% 38.7%
Senate districts and party affiliation after the 2022 election
  Republican Party
  Democratic Party

Current members, 2023–2025

District Image Senator Party Residence Assumed office on Elected
1 Bryan Hughes Rep Mineola 2017 2016
2 Bob Hall Rep Edgewood 2015 2014
3 Robert Nichols Rep Jacksonville 2007 2006
4 Brandon Creighton Rep Conroe 2014 2014†
5 Charles Schwertner Rep Georgetown 2013 2012
6 Carol Alvarado Dem Houston 2018 2018†
7 Paul Bettencourt Rep Houston 2015 2014
8 Angela Paxton Rep McKinney 2019 2018
9 Kelly Hancock Rep Fort Worth 2013 2012
10 Phil King Rep Weatherford 2023 2022
11 Mayes Middleton Rep Friendswood 2023 2022
12 Tan Parker Rep Flower Mound 2023 2022
13 Borris Miles Dem Houston 2017 2016
14 Sarah Eckhardt Dem Austin 2020 2020†
15 Molly Cook Dem Houston 2024 2024†
16 Nathan Johnson Dem Dallas 2019 2018
17 Joan Huffman Rep Houston 2008 2008†
18 Lois Kolkhorst Rep Brenham 2014 2014†
19 Roland Gutierrez Dem San Antonio 2021 2020
20 Juan Hinojosa Dem McAllen 2003 2002
21 Judith Zaffirini Dem Laredo 1987 1986
22 Brian Birdwell Rep Granbury 2010 2010†
23 Royce West Dem Dallas 1993 1992
24 Pete Flores Rep Pleasanton 2023 2022
25 Donna Campbell Rep New Braunfels 2013 2012
26 Jose Menendez Dem San Antonio 2015 2015†
27 Morgan LaMantia Dem Brownsville 2023 2022
28 Charles Perry Rep Lubbock 2014 2014†
29 Cesar Blanco Dem El Paso 2021 2020
30 Drew Springer Rep Muenster 2021 2020
31 Kevin Sparks Rep Midland 2023 2022

† Elected in a special election

Notable past members


Past composition of the Senate


The Senate was continuously held by Democrats from the end of the Reconstruction era until the Seventy-fifth Texas Legislature was seated in 1997, at which point Republicans took control. The Republican Party has maintained its control of the Senate since then.

Obsolete districts


See also



  1. ^ This committees has six members: the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor (who serve as joint chairs), the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, the Chairs of the House Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees, and one Senator appointed by the Lieutenant Governor; the Committee in turn hires and oversees the State Auditor of Texas.
  2. ^ This committee has ten members: the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor (who serve as joint chairs), the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, the Chairs of the House Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees, three Senators appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and two Representatives appointed by the Speaker.
  3. ^ This committee has six members: the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, two Senators appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and one Representative appointed by the Speaker.
  4. ^ This committee has 14 members: the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor (who serve as joint chairs), the Chair of the House Administration Committee, six Senators appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and five Representatives appointed by the Speaker.


  1. ^ "12 Texas State Senators, Claiming Political Victory, Come Out of Hiding". New York Times. May 23, 1979. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  2. ^ Fikac, Peggy, August 21, 2003, Senators' 1870 walkout also drew GOP's wrath Reconstruction-era tiff led to arrests and one expulsion, San Antonio Express-News
  3. ^ "Wednesday, January 11, 2023 - 2nd Day".
  4. ^ "Texas State Auditor's Office - Legislative Audit Committee".
  5. ^ "Legislative Budget Board".
  6. ^ "Legislative Reference Library |". lrl.texas.gov. Retrieved September 2, 2023.
  7. ^ "Texas Legislative Council". tlc.texas.gov.

30°16′28″N 97°44′24″W / 30.274537°N 97.739906°W / 30.274537; -97.739906